A ‘deserved improvement’: Officials break ground on South Lynnwood Park project

Local, state and federal officials broke ground Monday on the South Lynnwood Improvements Project.

Lynnwood city leaders were joined Monday afternoon by state and federal elected officials, public health leaders and other community partners to break ground for a redeveloped South Lynnwood Park.

Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, members of the Lynnwood City Council and the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department were joined by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (2nd Congressional District) and State Rep. Cindy Ryu (32nd District) for the ceremony at the neighborhood park located in the 20900 block of 61st Avenue West. 

Planned improvements include expanding the playground and adding new equipment, relocating the basketball court, resurfacing the tennis court and installing a new artificial turf soccer field. Improvements will also be made to the park’s drainage system around lawns and natural areas, and a new picnic shelter and seating will be added. 

“This neighborhood deserves an improvement,” said Deputy Parks Director Sarah Olson.

South Lynnwood Park is a 4.2-acre neighborhood park that opened in 1978. Redeveloping it is part of the city’s South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan — an effort to address social inequality, including income and language barriers, in South Lynnwood.

The South Lynnwood neighborhood is one of the city’s most culturally and ethnically diverse areas, with a high Latino population. The neighborhood is also home to most of the city’s locally owned businesses. Looking to have the new park reflect the surrounding community, the city conducted significant outreach efforts — before and during the COVID-19 pandemic — to gather feedback on what the park should look like.

“It was really important to us that the outreach that we did in this neighborhood was really deep over a long period of time,” said Senior Parks Planner Monica Thompson.

The project is estimated to cost $2.7 million, with funding coming from Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, The Trust for Public Land/Kaiser Permanente, the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, the City of Lynnwood and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Before breaking ground, dignitaries stood posed with the new mural, “Grateful Steward,” recently painted at South Lynnwood Park.

Last year, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Larsen — who co-sponsored the bill — said projects like improvements to South Lynnwood Park are well worth funding. 

“It goes to show that the LWCF is really about helping communities develop places where people can be outside and enjoy the outdoors,” he said.

Rep. Ryu also praised the collaboration between the city and its community partners to revitalize the park.

“I think it’s part of that synergy…the time and the ideas and literally bringing the cultures and the people together is just fantastic,” she said.

Additionally, the redevelopment will bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In its current state, the park does not meet ADA standards. Once completed, Olson said all of the existing barriers to accessing the park will be removed.

The entire park will be fenced and closed during construction, which is anticipated to be complete by the end of December. The restroom and access to the Interurban Trail will also be closed.

Some of this work has already begun. Last November, the city commissioned Seattle artist Gabrielle Abbott to paint a mural on the back of the newly -renovated park restroom building. The mural, titled “Grateful Steward,” was inspired by and depicts native plant and animal life that is considered sacred to local Indigenous tribes.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, Ryu (front left) and Larsen (rear left) visited Scriber Creek Park.

Following the event, Larsen and Ryu accompanied the mayor and city staff to Scriber Creek Park for a brief stroll along the park’s trail. The park is set to receive its own upgrades, including completing approximately 4,000 feet of shared-use trail from Wilcox Park at the intersection of 196th Street Southwest and 52nd Avenue West to the Interurban Regional Trail and Lynnwood Transit Center.

The existing 1.5-mile trail begins at Wilcox Park and heads south to the Lynnwood Transit Center, where it ends. While the current trail provides critical access to the transit center, it is not bikeable or ADA compliant, experiences seasonal flooding and has been described by staff as the “worst condition of trail in the city.”

–Story and photos by Cody Sexton

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